MAKING SENSE by Bruce Brooks


Animal Perception and Communication
Age Range: 9 & up
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 Compared to Predators! and Nature by Design (both 1991), this third in the award-winning novelist's Knowing Nature series shines; now, rather than distracting, the jocular informal tone engages and amuses, while Brooks expresses even complex ideas in a lucid, wonderfully accessible style (``Once you begin to pay attention, the natural world is suddenly a wildly noisy place, and behind each noise is intention''). He surveys the importance of the five senses to specific species--beginning with a provocative opener on ``Knowing'' and ending with a chapter (``Wholeness'') on integrating the senses--and offers many concrete facts about capabilities, interaction, and the rich diversity of adaptations. The result is an inspirational sampling of what's known (with somewhat less about how it's known), and of the ways scientists make new connections. Brooks explores the boundary between quantifiable behavior and animal feelings with intelligence, an open mind, and judicious circumspection (``dare we insist that the small finch chasing a large hawk away from its nest is not courageous...?''), and is sensitive to the ambiguity of a word like ``strange'' and the need for qualifiers like ``perhaps.'' It's a pity the information isn't sourced (there's a curious note thanking WNET's Nature for inspiration only). A fascinating introduction to an intriguing and significant topic. Excellent, well-placed color photos; useful, discursive glossary; brief index. (Nonfiction. 9+)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-374-34742-5
Page count: 74pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1993


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